We often receive enquiries from people about our products and about
training. We feel this material would benefit a wide range of
Please do take the time to read the information below before
contacting the design skills directly, as it is comprehensive and regularly
Q1. What do I receive when I buy the beginners guide to colour theory and rendering techniques?
Our comprehensive guide is designed to provide learners with an overview of colour theory and core rendering techniques and materials often used by designers: coloured pencil, marker pens, pastels, watercolour. The first part of the book looks at colour perceptions and introduces colour theory. The second part introduces the principles of 3D modelling and explores the properties and different rendering techniques for each type of material, how to create smooth or textured finishes.
Q1. What do I receive when I buy the Minicad / version 9 and
below beginners package?
The package includes 2 manuals, a 2D drawing book and a 3D tutorial teaching
core aspects of VectorWorks, a royalty free library of furniture with 10 objects and
free registration to our membersa
Q2. What do I receive when I buy the version 10 and above
The package includes 2 manuals, a 2D drawing book and a 3D tutorial
teaching core aspects of VectorWorks, a free bonus study on axonometric
drawing, a royalty free library of furniture with over 30 objects
and free registration to our members only forum.
Q3. What do I receive when I buy the 3D modelling intermediates
The package includes 2 manuals, each with a comprehensive 3D modelling
tutorial highlighting core 3D modelling features of VectorWorks, a
free bonus book on dimensioning and measuring and free registration
to our members only forum.
Q4. What do I receive when I buy the advanced modelling package?
The package includes 2 manuals. The first one has 2 tutorials about
complex and organic shapes and the second one, detailed information
on using advanced tools and creating animation. You will also receive
a free bonus book on lighting with VectorWorks and free registration
to our members only forum.
Q5. Although there is a short description about each training
manual on the index page of the design skills store website, can I
find out exactly exactly what I will be learning?
Once you have selected the manual that interests you, you will be
taken to another page. There you will find a comprehensive list of
the learning outcomes. For example, to know what you will be learning
with the intermediate 3D modelling package, select your version of
the software using the select version drop down menu on the right.
This will take you to a different page with a detailed list of what
you will learn.
Q6. I am a third year architecture student and have recently
purchased Vectorworks 10. However I have never used it before and
was wondering if your beginners tutorial package is any good for helping
in architectural drawing? I have a quickstart guide but it is not very good for starting off
with no knowledge and the CAD tutors here only know how to use AutoCad
which I find dated and very confusing to use.
VectorWorks is a highly
intuitive and enjoyable software to work with once you know the basics
but it is a very large program and can be very confusing at first.
The Quick Start guide is good and comprehensive but only if you already
have a good working knowledge of VectorWorks and it does not give
you the opportunity to put the tools and drawing strategies into context.
I created the Training Package for beginners to intermediate to help
people get to grip with the core concepts of VectorWorks. Without
mastering those, it is almost impossible to progress. Therefore, our
current beginners package is designed for people who have never used
VectorWorks before or have very little knowledge of the software.
If you complete the training you will have reached intermediate level
and can move on to intermediate training.
Q7. What does the beginners training package consists of?
The package consists of 2 manuals. The Drafting manual explains how
to use VectorWorks basic tools, at the core of the program, including
exercises to practice and put the tools into context. The 3D drawing
manual, as its name suggests, is about creating a 3D space, complete
with furniture. In addition, there is a section on how to present
your drawing, including an introduction on how to create and present
detailed drawings for construction. The first part of each manual
is dedicated to understanding the software's drawing strategies (e.g.
the different ways available to draw an object), the palettes, working
environment, 2D & 3D axis. Using this type of format means that each
manual can be used as a stand-alone learning tool. There are also
many helpful tips, which stem from my own working knowledge of VectorWorks.
Moreover, you learn how to set up the drawing parameters (Paper size,
units, scale, grid set up, etc) as well as the concept of layers and
how to make the most of this feature. Also available in the appendix
section of the 3D manual, is a diagram explaining the concept of layers
for a multi storey building, which would be useful to interior designers
Q8. Does it matter whether you use a Mac or a PC?
The training manuals are designed to be used on either system. The
differences between platforms when using VectorWorks are minimal and
discrepancies are highlighted where applicable. For example, keyboard
shortcut functions are given both for PC and Mac.
Q9. Will I find the tutorials applicable to my OSX version?
Absolutely. However, do check which version of VectorWorks you are
using before you buy anything.
Q10. I have a full version of VectorWorks 11. I mainly use
the Spotlight for lighting design and I am a Mac user. Do you think
that it would be useful for me to order training manuals?
Our training manuals are designed to help you learn to draw using
VectorWorks. Anyone using this software has to learn the fundamentals
of drawings, no matter what their speciality is. To make the learning
process easier, we have designed training manuals for each stage:
beginners, intermediate and advanced. This enable people to assimilate
what they learn and develop a degree of autonomy before moving on
to the next level.
Q11. I am teaching myself VectorWorks and am trying to source
some good resource material. I need to clarify that the course will
progress quickly in the direction that I need. I have a degree in
Interior Design/Architecture for which I used 3D Studio Max, but feel
that vectorworks would be far more user friendly in this line of work.
I have also bought the Visual Quickstart Guide, but that is not really
the way I want to learn. I need something rather more inspirational!
Can you help?
Our VectorWorks training manuals are designed for people who want
to teach themselves this great software or are looking to complement
their knowledge base. The manuals are designed to quickly and easily
give you professional knowledge and understanding which would normally
take months to develop in a classroom situation. There are exercises
and tutorials to make the learning process more interesting and put
it into context. There are also many tips not available anywhere else
and the packages comes with a free membership to our forum. On the
forum, you can post any questions relating to the packages and with
other members, explore any issues you may encounter. This means
that although you are teaching yourself, help is always at hand.
Q12. I am a complete novice to VW, but need to acquire some
knowledge, fast! My work is 'Artists Impressions' which have been
done in watercolour up to now. I need to know how to construct an
exterior model of buildings in 3D. I have VW 11 and wondered if you
can help me, or could point me in the right direction?
VectorWorks, like many other design software, requires a fair amount
of practice and some understanding of core elements and drawing strategies,
no matter which purpose it is used for. It is very difficult for beginners
to find relevant help and short intensive CAD courses are usually
very expensive. This is why I have created a training package for
beginners. It is a step by step guide on how to use VectorWorks core
elements rapidly moving from 2D to 3D. This is basically what I would
have liked to have when I was learning the software myself. The first
part is designed to teach core tools with exercises where applicable
while the second part is a 3D tutorial. The package is set up so that
what is learnt can be applied to a myriad of other projects. Should you need to develop your skills further, you can continue your training using the intermediate and advanced level manuals.
Q13. I have some knowledge of VectorWorks (I have been using
it regularly to draw interior spaces with simple furniture) but I
have no knowledge whatsoever of the more advanced features of the
software. Which manual(s) would you recommend?
Our training is divided into 3 categories: beginners, intermediate
and advanced. Each category builds onto the previous one so if you
already feel comfortable with the core features of VectorWorks, you
should preferably learn with manuals from the intermediate section
before moving onto the advanced level.
Q14. I am very interested in the drawing aspects of the intermediate
and advanced training manuals but I am worried I won't be able to
complete them because I don't have RenderWorks. Can I still learn
Yes, because the drawing processes and tools used in these tutorials
are a very important part of the learning curve. Although in some
manuals RenderWorks was used, Open GL (available with VectorWorks) can be used instead. This means
that textures won't be available but this will not affect the overall
drawing learning outcomes. Although not compulsary, many people today
use computers to render their drawings. As RenderWorks is the rendering
companion of VectorWorks, we have introduced it in some of our training
manuals. Even if you don't use RenderWorks at present, you may come
across it oir a similar software in the future.
Q15. I work as a Lighting Gaffer in the entertainment industry.
I recently purchased Vectorworks 10 Spotlight and have absolutely
no idea how to use it. Would your tutorial program be the right choice
for a lighting designer or should I look for a tutorial specifically
for Vectorworks 10 Spotlight?
Our training packages would teach you how to draw 2D & 3D, lighting
and rendering but does not go as far as teaching you the advanced
lighting capabilities of Spotlight. Saying that, you still need to
understand how to use the core features of VectorWorks before progressing
further so our packages would be useful to begin with.
Q16. Some of the trades I collaborate with in my profession
use AutoCAD. Is transferring designs from AutoCAD to Vectorworks simple
VectorWorks is compatible with many other software, including AutoCAD.
VectorWorks can read DWG/DFX extensions, you can open AutoCAD drawings in vectorWorks and work on them, and you can export (File > Export) VectorWorks drawings as DWG/DFX.
Q17. I need to learn VectorWorks quickly but I am worried
about teaching myself. Would you have any recommendations?
My first recommendation would be to be disciplined about your training.
You need to do it regularly though do not try to learn too much too
fast. Give yourself time to assimilate. Then, practice, practice
and practice more. Try to apply what you learn to projects of your
own. Keep it simple to begin with. Then move on to more difficult
tasks by learning the training manuals from our intermediate and advanced
levels. Last but not least, when you buy the package, you can register
to our forum where you can post questions you may have during your
training. Either myself or another member will reply. This way you
are never alone while learning. The early stages of learning can be quite difficult. Don't give up! You will soon find the experience highly enjoyable and your achievements rewarding.
Q18. I have a very limited amount of CAD knowledge. Could
I nonetheless jump levels and, for example, learn about animation?
I would not recommend it. This would prove a very frustrating experience.
Both the intermediate and advanced training manuals are designed with
the understanding that the user already possess a good and solid knowledge base.
I would recommend that you at least complete the beginners training
package before moving on to animation.
Q19. Is it possible to buy the training manuals from a shop?
Our training manuals are available exclusively through our website
and can be downloaded directly to your computer. All you have to do
is follow the on-line instructions for the transaction via Paypal
and once payment has been received you will immediately receive an
email with download and installation instructions, link to our forum
Q20. I am a garden designer and I have just acquired a copy
of Vectorworks v.11. I am a complete beginner and thought I would
have a go at teaching myself CAD. I notice you are an interior designer.
Will your course be suitable for a garden designer?
Indeed, our training package would be suitable to your needs because
you are looking at learning the basics which are the same for everyone,
no matter which profession they are in. In other words, the core tools
and drawing methods of VectorWorks is what the training package is
about. The same apply to our intermediate and advanced manuals should
you decide to take your training further.
Q21. Can I learn the advanced and intermediate training manuals
Sorry, this is not possible. A lot of the tools used in these training
manuals did not exist in version 9 of the software.
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Q1. What do I receive when I buy the E-guide to interior design
Our comprehensive guide includes information on the interior design
professions, studying interior design in the UK, preparing for an
interior design career, a listing of interior design courses in the
UK, a listing of design publications, a listing of design resources
and associations, a UK event diary, a listing of UK recruitment agencies
and a business start up checklist. You will also receive a free glossary
of interior design terms and information on scope of work and
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